.by Anura Guruge
>> Shame on Belknap Mill … — Aug. 3, 2013.
>> Laconia Multicultural Day, 2013 … — July 12, 2013.
>> Laconia Multicultural Day, 2013: Program — July 30, 2013.
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The ‘Laconia Multicultural Day’, per my definition, is ALWAYS good, always uplifting and always rewarding. PERIOD.
So, per that definition, the 12th celebration, yesterday, Saturday, August 3, 2013, was GOOD. Period.
It is a joyful, bustling event for Laconia – a town desperately in need of cheers. As ever I applaud the organizers and sponsors of this event for their commitment, vision and lets face it audacity. You do good. Thank you. Kudos.
That this year’s event had to be held a month ahead of normal was unfortunate and it now transpires that this was all due to the crassness and greed of the Belknap Mill and those that run it — and I dealt with that separately. A pox on them.
Though there were lots of tents and plenty of ‘carnival’ atmosphere and aromas wafting around, you couldn’t help but notice that the crowds were noticeably down from the last few years — and I have attended every single one of these exemplary ‘DAYS‘. I had hoped that the Summer (as opposed to Fall) date would attract some of the tourists and out-of-towners. That did not appear to be so. One of the organizers complained that she didn’t think that the event was advertised enough. I can’t comment on that, really. I did see it in the ‘Sun‘, I think — but we went looking for it since it is one of our ‘must attend‘ events of the year.
But, it was fun. Everybody, as ever, appeared to be having fun and that, in the end, is all that counts and what this ‘Day’ is all about. Bravo.
I do not know the details, but it is possible that the earlier date interfered in signing up some of the entertainment.
The two headline acts, as far as I could tell, were the African balafon ‘Balla Kouyate‘ and the Puerto Rican ‘Edwin Pabon y Su Orchestra‘. There was, of course, also the ever impressive ‘Odaiko Japanese Drummers‘, but to be fair, they are now becoming somewhat of a staple at Laconia also having performed, magnificently, in 2011 — and as I recall other years. They were good. There were also three Asian girls that danced, fleetingly. Maybe that was the ‘Bhutanese Dancers‘. They were alluring. But, it was a brief act and did not get a proper build-up or even introduction.
‘Balla Kouyate’ and ‘Edwin Pabon y Su Orchestra’ were both class acts and acquitted themselves with credit. They did not have the crowd stomping or totally captivated, but they made sure we all realized why we were there. So that was all good.
Now as for the ‘Crystal Singing Balls‘, all I can really say that it was totally the wrong venue. It was like listening to pain dry and given the lack of auditory stimulation as exciting as watching somebody stir paint — which, alas, is what it does look like. I am sure that in a cozy, intimate room, this would have been quite a show — with the balls buzzing. But, in an open venue, with no reflective sound, the single mike really could not do this justice. Whoever booked this act should have thought about it. They had some performances inside the Mill. This should have been indoors — possibly with the sound broadcast outside. Kind of funny. Yesterday, at the event, I was reading a magazine article about Bose — who invented the eponymous sound systems and speakers. His fundamental breakthrough was recognizing that at most auditorium-based concerts 80% of the sound heard by the audience was reflective sound! That was the problem here. No reflection. No sound. I felt bad for the lady. I walked up to the table. You could hear the glass ring. Never mind.
It was not the greatest of these ‘Days’. It was, overall, low key. Even sombre — though there was no need for that.
I gather that in 2014 it will be back on the 2nd Saturday of September. That is good. So here is the good news. It should not be too difficult next year to better this year’s out-of-cycle event.
P.S., Since I am on this no-carb diet, I did not, per usual, check out all the food tents — since all of them tend to be carb-heavy. So I really can’t comment on the food. I did have some lamb at the very end. They were selling lamb sandwiches for $7. I asked them to give me $5 of just meat without the bread. They did. It was OK.